Top of the Morning
Charter Communications said last night that it is not interested in acquiring Sprint Corp., despite interest in such a transaction by Sprint majority owner SoftBank Group.
- Why it's the BFD: You mean besides the fact that SoftBank is slowly worming its way into every section of this newsletter? Okay, because Charter's rejection is not the end of this mega M&A story. There are various reports that SoftBank is now prepping a straight takeover offer for Charter, which has a current market cap north of $100 billion. And, were that to fail, SoftBank always could take another stab at merging Sprint with rival carrier T-Mobile (which was blocked by Obama's FCC, but may get a more positive reception this time around).
- Bottom line: "It's been a furious season of speculation about possible telecom deals. Sprint could benefit from a deal with Charter or another company to help it compete with Verizon and AT&T, and companies that offer wired service can diversify by getting into the wireless space or investing in content. An agreement between Charter and Comcast means the former couldn't merge with Sprint without the blessing of the latter." — David McCabe, Axios
Venture Capital Deals
• Shopex, a Shanghai-based provider of e-commerce software and services, has raised around $105 million in Series D funding. Joy Capital led the round, and was joined by K2VC, New Alliance Capital, Tianxing Capital, Gopher Asset Management and CBC Capital. http://bit.ly/2hfsM1s
🚑 Menlo Therapeutics, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based drug developer focused on chronic pruritus and chronic cough, has raised $50 million in Series C funding. VenBio led the round, and was joined by Novo Holdings, Rock Springs Capital, Aisling Capital, Bay City Capital, Vivo Capital, Presidio Partners, Remeditex and F-Prime Capital. www.menlotherapeutics.com
• SimplyCook, a London-based meal kit startup that only provides the extras (e.g., spices and sauces), has raised £2 million in new VC funding from Maxfield Capital, Episode 1 Ventures, 500 Startups and individual angels. http://tcrn.ch/2ubDUOd
• The Big Willow, a Wilton, Conn.-based provider of software for B2B marketers, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Connecticut Innovations and Stonehenge Growth Capital. www.thebigwillow.com
Private Equity Deals
• Two companies are expected to price IPOs on U.S. exchanges this week: Clementia Pharmaceuticals and Venator Materials. http://bit.ly/2uQ3iea
Contura Energy, a Bristol, Tenn.-based provider of provider of metallurgical and steam coal, has set its IPO terms to 6 million shares being offered at between $23 and $27 per share. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol CTRA, with Citigroup listed as sole underwriter. www.conturaenergy.com
• Stitch Fix, a San Francisco-based fashion subscription service that has raised over $45 million in VC funding, has confidentially filed for an IPO, according to TechCrunch. http://tcrn.ch/2veAzTv
• Bill Chu has joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director on the firm's China investment banking services team. He previously was with Deutsche Bank. http://cnb.cx/2veL7Bh